By NBF News
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By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
LAGOS — Officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, are in a fix as to how the huge sum of money collected and paid into the organisation's account found its way into various other accounts for which a ridiculous interest is being paid.

The question being asked is who gave the top officials the authority to pay such amount into their private accounts for which they are now alleging that the private firm hired to generate revenue on its behalf is holding onto.

The officials are finding it hard to explain how N2.4 billion of the N25 billion paid into FAAN account was diverted to private accounts.

Payment data gathered from various aviation sources as well as bankers to FAAN and Mervis, the service provider, showed that on monthly basis millions of naira are remitted by the two banks engaged by Mervis and FAAN to collect fees and taxes on behalf of FAAN.

The two banks, Zenith and Skye, have discharged their obligation faithfully, it was learnt.

According to the data made available to Vanguard, between August 2008 and December 2008, Mervis invoiced N3.946 billion of which N2.834 billion was collected and paid to FAAN. During the same period, it invoiced $1.463 million of which $776,001 was paid and remitted to the coffers of FAAN.

Available payment sheet showed that between January 2009 and December, the sum of N11.222 billion was invoiced to various users of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos of which N10.334 billion was paid into the coffers of the FAAN for 2009. In the same vein, international flights and users were taxed $2.975 million but $3.086 million was paid into the account of FAAN.

Last year between January and December, N11.635 billion was the total fees  assessment of  users of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and of this amount, N9.676 billion was paid to FAAN. Similarly, international passengers and flights out and into the airport were charged $3.339 million of which $2.780 million was collected and paid into FAAN's account.

In the three-year period, the total taxes and fees invoiced at the Murtala Muhammed Airport alone was N26.805 billion of which N22.845 billion was collected on behalf of the service provider and paid into the account of FAAN.

Also, for the three-year period, while $7.778 million was charges on international flights into and out of the airport, $6.642 million was paid into FAAN account from the takings at the International wing of the Murtala Muhammed airport alone.

For Abuja International airport which Marvis was asked to provide services from November 2009, revenue generated for FAAN for the two months, November to December, was N471.067 million and N31.584 million paid into FAAN account.

Between January 2010 and December, the total charges was N2.698 billion of which N1.965 billion was collected and paid to FAAN. In the same year at Abuja Airport, of the $1.574 million charges for international flights into and out of the airport, $610,178.16 was collected and paid to FAAN.

A revenue generation profile of FAAN before private sector service provider was engaged showed that in 1999 the total revenue generated by FAAN in the 21 airport across the country was N7.188 billion of which N4.465 was received as income while N2.722 billion was unpaid.

In the year 2000 the total revenue generated by FAAN was N 6.229 billion out of which N 4.880 billion was collected. FAAN generated the sum of N 10.684 billion, N 14.534 billion and N 15.258 billion in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. However it was collect N 10.197 billion for 2003, N 12.688 billion for 2004, and N14.488 billion for 2005.

In 2006 of the N15.629 billion generated it was able to collect N13.383 billion for the 21 airports in the country. In 2007, it while it generated N15.687 billion, the total amount it collected in the 21 airport was N13.384 billion.

A controversy over the finances of FAAN has been ranging in the last few days leading to a meeting with the Attorney General of the federation .

It will be recalled that following allegations, by Minister of aviation, Fidelia Njeze, that Maevis Nigeria Limited failed to remit the money, collected on behalf of FAAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, had called for a meeting with the concessionaire, the two banks that funded the project and on which platform the charges were collected, and FAAN on December 23, to find out why Maevis did not remit the said money to the Authority.

The meeting however did not hold because officials of FAAN did not could not make it to the meeting Both the Minister of Aviation and FAAN officials are refusing to answer any further questions on the revenue generated preferring to be unavailable.

According to sources, at the meeting of December 23, at which FAAN was absent from presentations made by Skye and Zenith banks, it was discovered that the concessionaire had, in fact, remitted to the FAAN all the money it collected on the Authority's behalf. However, the Aviation Minister, at whose instigation the AGF had called the meeting was absent.

The AGF, having studied the financial transactions tendered by Maevis, Skye Bank and Zenith Bank , rescheduled the meeting when FAAN would be expected to explain what it did with the money and whether it got adequate approval to do it.

A source at the meeting disclosed that the AGF was puzzled as to how the aviation minister could have been so deceived by the management of FAAN and wondered why she had not first studied the matter carefully before crying foul. A source in the AGF's office said that the money involved is too big to be ignored by the Federal Government; adding that the presidency is also interested in the outcome of the meeting 'The allegations are too weighty and the deception unprecedented', the source added.